Thirty years later: pregnancies in females perinatally infected with human immunodeficiency virus-1

AIDS Res Treat. 2012;2012:418630. doi: 10.1155/2012/418630. Epub 2012 Aug 28.


The first cases of mother to child transmission of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) were described more than two decades ago and since then several thousands more have been reported in western countries. In the early 1980s the majority of perinatally acquired HIV children did not survive beyond childhood. However combined antiretroviral therapy (ART) for perinatally HIV-acquired children has prolonged their survival and in the past 2 decades, many have reached adulthood. As the perinatally HIV-infected females become sexually active, they are in turn at risk for pregnancy and of transmitting HIV infection to their children. A considerable proportion of this population appears to engage in unprotected sexual intercourse leading to teenage pregnancies, STDs, and abnormal cervical cytology despite frequent contact with HIV health care providers and clinics. Currently there is a paucity of data regarding pregnancy and neonatal outcomes in HIV perinatally infected women. As increasing number of pregnancies will occur among this population we must continue to monitor and focus on their reproductive health issues to improve perinatal and long-term maternal outcomes. This paper will summarize our current knowledge about reproductive health issues and identify areas for future inquiry.